Wednesday, May 11, 2005

CC Briefs: "My Everything" by Anita Baker

Artist: Anita Baker
Album: My Everything
Label: Blue Note

Even after all of these years, the irresistible Anita Baker, whom dominated the charts in the 80s literally by exposing pop culture to her cunning mix of soul and jazz music without any alterations, has returned with her first studio project of the decade. And though many have grown skeptical of Baker’s artistic developments over this period of time, one thing this album showcases, above all things, is that she has not only beautified her craft but shows no signs of aging or weakening. Of course, in comparison to her first two projects in the early 80s ("The Songstress", "Rapture"), there are a few missing elements in Baker’s arsenal; which include those dangerous high notes that could turn a gospel choir upside down. You don’t hear all of that on this project at all - but you will hear Baker successfully crooning and skating as if she studied Ella Fitzgerald or Betty Carter during her time off. Most of the tracks were done in one take - which definitely proves Baker doesn’t need fixer-uppers in the studio. The title track opens up things and is a delicate addition to her memorable hits. The melody sticks and so does the’s not a "Sweet Love", but it’s the perfect follow-up. Mid-tempo songs like "How Could You" and "How Does It Feel" experiments with contemporary jazz and smooth R&B, while "In My Heart" and "I Can’t Sleep" make intricate quiet storm tracks and fall neatly into the Adult Contemporary genre. And who can resist the spellbound duet with Babyface on "Like You Used To Do". The intimacy these two have on this track speaks incredible volumes and happens to be one of the more successful combination attempts this year. Of course, it is a short offering and that may bother Baker fanatics, but don’t get uptight over that. The journey is befitting from start to finish and the music provided by producer and multi-instrumentalist Barry Eastmond, the renowned Jerry Hey on trumpet, and even with a few cameos from Gerald Albright, George Duke and Paul Jackson, Jr. She is vocally unpredictable; exactly one of the amazing strengths she continues to reveal album after album and the music sounds like a live exhibition of fresh material - which fits perfectly in the Blue Note collection. We seriously hope Ms. Baker won’t have to wait another seven years for another offering...we need more good stuff like this. This is not a "Rapture" or "The Songstress", but it is a worthy return and possess good merit.

MUSIC STYLE: R&B, Soul, Jazz
RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2004

1. You're My Everything (5:03)
2. How Could You (4:21)
3. In My Heart (5:06)
4. Serious (5:25)
5. How Does It Feel (4:42)
6. Like You Used To Do (5:11)
7. Close Your Eyes (4:42)
8. You're My Everything Revisited (1:12)
9. I Can't Sleep (5:08)
10. Men In My Life (3:37)


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